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Name: Micalah
Status: teacher
Grade:  4-6
Country: USA
Date: Winter 2011-2012

Question:
I am doing an experiment to test what effect does the temperature of vinegar when mixed with baking soda have on the amount of carbon dioxide that is released? What is your opinion on the results of this for a grade 4, 5, 6 classroom?



Replies:
This sounds like a great idea for that age group. I am really glad to see an elementary school teacher doing real chemistry experimentation! I hope that you will graph the results for the students to analyze. Keep up the good work.

Ray Tedder NBC Chemistry Teacher


In principle, the expected answer is about the same CO2 at all temperatures. In practice, if you slowly heat up an open cup of vinegar on a hot-plate, the acetic acid will leave faster than the water, so it is possible the warmer samples will produce less CO2 in your trials. A microwave heats quite quickly and should minimize that. keeping a loose cover over the cup should help even more.

I am ignoring the amount of CO2 that remains dissolved in the mixture and never bothers to come out. That part might vary with temperature. I think colder solution usually holds more gas in solution, so then colder will release less CO2 gas. But I think the whole amount that remains in solution is on the order of 1-10% of what is released, so you might not notice its variations at different temperatures.

Jim Swenson


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